And Great Britain Women’s head coach Chema Buceta wants a passionate crowd there to set his team on their way with a win.
“We need a big crowd in Manchester to support the team,” said the Spaniard. “We need everyone to feel part of the team - this GB team is the team for all.”
The GB Women face a Greek team ranked 15th in the world, six places ahead of Buceta’s side, in their opening EuroBasket Women qualifier and the GB play caller is determined to match or better their 2020 effort of finishing a record fourth in the finals.
To do so again would give them a shot at an even bigger prize – the qualification tournament for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Tickets for the clash with Greece at the National Basketball Performance Centre are on sale now and Buceta wants to see a packed house at Belle Vue, not only to cheer his team on, but to rally round the UK women’s game in general.
“In 2019 we were able to reach the semi-final of the EuroBasket and in 2020 we were very close to qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” he said.
“This proved that, although it is very difficult to achieve, it is possible if we believe in ourselves and work wisely with the common support of everyone involved in women´s basketball in the country.
“The success of the national team is the result of the contribution of many people and institutions, and it is an outstanding example for the promotion of basketball in UK, both at elite level and at the junior level.
“The more we achieve, the more players, coaches, clubs, sponsors, etc will be attracted by women’s basketball, and this will be a key aspect to grow the game.”
Leading towards the 100th anniversary of the 1924 Olympics, when female competitors were few and far between, Buceta has outlined his ambitions for his team.
“We begin a new campaign – the Road to Paris," added Buceta. "The 2024 Olympic Games will take place, 100 years after the 1924 Olympics, also in Paris, inspiration of the famous film Chariots of Fire about the participation of British athletes. In this film, women athletes were absent. Now, 100 years after, we want women´s basketball to be there!
“The Road to Paris is a long journey. First we have to qualify for next EuroBasket, then, reach one of the top six positions there, and then, qualify in the pre-Olympic Tournament.
“Easy? No. Possible? Yes! We proved it. This journey will begin next on 11 November in Manchester, when we will play against Greece for the qualification to next EuroBasket, and we need big support there.
“All the players are highly committed to this big challenge and highly enthusiastic about it, ready to do their best. What about you? All the team will highly appreciate your support. See you there!”
GB v Greece, 11 November, 7.30pm, the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester.
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